Comfort Food: Baked Squash with Lentils and Rice

I had this marathon dentist appointment yesterday.

Dentist: Well, not quite a marathon, more of a half marathon.   (True, he actually said this.)

Emily: My half marathon PR is about an hour shorter than this appointment.

I went in at 9:30 and left at 12:15, is what I’m saying.  And that was for four cavities, as mentioned previously.  Yikes. That much terror is exhausting, though luckily the appointment was relatively pain-free.

So with Bryan out of town and the election results not coming up in favor of the candidates I was backing (Go Tammy Baldwin, though!  I’m so glad she beat Chad Lee, who was an ass of the first degree), I needed something comforting to eat.  Comforting and soft.  And easy.

Then I remembered we had an acorn squash!  Since Bryan dislikes squash, I told him I would be cooking and eating a bunch of it while he was gone.  Alas, all the recipes I found on the internet were for squash coated in brown sugar.  Now brown sugar and squash are a good combination, but after all that dental work I was a bit reluctant to make something hugely sugary (this resolution lasted until 22:00).  So I had to make up a recipe.  This is it.  It takes about an hour to make, but that’s about fifteen minutes of actually doing things and the other forty-five minutes of sitting in the next room reading blogs doing homework.

squash

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half (equatorial, not longitudinally–you want to wind up with rings of squash when you are done) seeds removed.
  • About 1 tsp of pesto and 2 tsp of margarine, mixed, with a pinch of rosemary and cayenne.
  • 1/3 c. of (brown or green) lentils and 1/3 c. rice.  The lentils I buy are brown in color but technically I think they are green lentils.  I don’t know.  Lentils.
  • 1/4 c. of red lentils.
  • 2/3 c. + 1/4 c. water.
  • Spices like 1 cube veggie bouillon, a bit of the margarine/pesto mix, whatever you like on your lentils.
  • A handful of sliced Crimini mushrooms.
  • A splash of Marsala.
  • Some pasta sauce (I like Newman’s Own).

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.  Smear the insides of the halved squashes with the butter/pesto mixture and drizzle with balsamic vinegar if you want.  You may want to score the squashes — I didn’t but it would have been a good idea.  Also salt and pepper (I forgot).  Put the squash in a foil-lined baking dish and stick them in the oven.  Set timer for 30 minutes and get the rice cooker ready to go on the rice and lentils, but don’t turn it on yet.
  2. At the 30 minute mark, turn on the rice cooker and set the timer for 15 more minutes.
  3. At the 45 minute mark, check the squash.  If it’s done, take it out, otherwise give it another 10 or so.  Saute the mushrooms in a little butter.  I usually do this over high heat because I like my veggies to get brown and kind of seared.  Bryan thinks this is heretical and does them over medium when he’s cooking.  So pick the method you’re comfortable with.
  4. When the mushrooms are done, deglaze the pan with Marsala and add a half cup or a cup of tomato sauce, just long enough to warm up.
  5. Plating: Ring of squash on the bottom, stuffed with lentil/rice mixture in the middle, topped with mushrooms and sauce and Parmesan cheese after that (if you want cheese).

This recipe would be good without the tomato sauce too.  Go with what you’re feeling, that’s what I’m saying.

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